tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 17, 2013 7:30am-9:00am EDT
>> all right, those who have chairs, you can set. i know the word this week is on all of our minds today -- bittersweet is on all of our minds today. this is the first room in the capitol visitor center to be named in honor of an individual, and this is the first room in the entire capitol complex to be dedicated to a staffer. a stirring tribute, and, frankly, i think a fitting one, too. this isn't the space we use for pomp and ceremony. people come here for meetings, gathering, the kind of assemblies the gabe would've planned and led as a staffer. and there's a plaque year which speaks to a young man who set
out to make a difference. still, a plaque can only say so much. especially in this case. gabe's colleagues and fellow staffers know how wise this is. they no gabe wouldn't have counted on all of the hours he gave to the people, they know he wouldn't have tracked the extra calls to me, the luzinski qaeda, the free time that he sacrificed. they know he wouldn't have bragged about his successes. and he wouldn't have announced them as well because, frankly, that's the code of the staff. in the democratic process if it is their line of duty. so today and everyday we pause and be thankful for the unsung professionals who sustain this institution. with all the staff members present, raise your hands to be recognized by all of us.
[applause] this attribute to the ones who serve as a tribute to all who serve, and made this room stand as a marker of our capacity to give in to care and to love. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i want to echo that our thoughts and prayers are with the people of boston today. and in the difficult days ahead, at the boston marathon, an incredible milestone for the thousands who run it each year and it's a horrible tragedy that a day of celebration turns into an unthinkable nightmare. like so many of you today, bostonians are incredibly strong and we stand with them united and ready to the families and friends of the victims. as the iconic fred rogers know
to join edward as mr. rogers famously noted when i would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look to the helper. you always find people who are helping. in times of such inexplicable crisis we're grateful for all who lend a helping hand to those in need, and especially our first responders who opened his own lives at risk to keep us safe and out of harm's way. these men and women are not just public servants, they have made helping others their life's work. gabriel zimmerman was one of those people, always looking for ways to help others. january 8, 2011, was a day that shocked our nation. when tragedy struck a committee in our country and tucson, arizona, that took the lives of six people, including one of our own, gabriel zimmerman, a hard-working, devoted staffer to a friend and former colleague, gabrielle giffords of arizona's eighth congressional district. gabe zimmerman served as a
cabbie's community outreach director and was perfectly suited for this position as anyone who knew him would tell you. having had the privilege of meeting him several times, i would agree. that's because working as a committee outrage directed marriage to great passions in his life. his desire to help individuals and firm conviction that america's government be open, accessible and responsive to every american to ask any member of congress hear what is on onef the most valuable possessions in her office, and we will tell you it is our community outreach director. these people oriented professionals listen each and every day to the concerns of our constituents, the problems, their suggestions, their complaints in the network to help them. the hours are long gone nights and weekends at home with family or out with friends are often sacrificed to attend community meetings. today, the capital to marry comes together to rightly honor the service and sacrifice of a member of our congressional family. for the family and friends of
gabe zimmerman who are here today, thank you for sharing and one with all of us. and the people of arizona's eighth congressional district. we gather here today not to mark gabe's death but to recognize his commitment in life, and to making others' lives better. gabe would actually -- often put in extra hours and was known to pay out of pocket for poor constituents bus there. whatever he could d to help the. among his colleagues in tucson, gabe was profoundly well-liked. they told me when i visited after the shooting that gabe was always excited to come into work and that he cherished the ability to work for a member of congress, the one he so admired, and that we all admire. his coworkers giddily called and prince charming because he was always there for them, always ready to come to the rescue. tragedy tragically, this loyal, determined public servants on it was a true missionary are represented democracy
unknowingly also made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. it is in this historic and how little moment that we gather jenin this congressional meeting room, previously known as hvc 215, now known as the gabe zimmerman meeting room. as those of us who work in the capitol complex now well, this room is equally used for stepping of every friday. i can think of no better way to memorialize gabe's service and sacrifice and at this meeting place for ever carry his name, memory, and lik like this. than any other string came about through passage of a bipartisan resolution which i was proud to sponsor within congress and jeff flake that had 400 members of cosponsors. this makes this resolution among just a few pieces legislative history took honored such wide support in house. today, we honor the life of gabe zimmerman and we also recognize all congressional staff working in every corner of our great nation for the dedication to
congress and the american people. from now on each time you enter the gabriel zimmerman meeting room let us be reminded of days, his service and the service and sacrifice that every congressional staffer makes. it is now my pleasure and privilege to welcome the vice president of the united states, joseph biden, to our gathering. [applause] >> the events that brought us all together today are shrouded in tragedy, but in coming together we celebrate gabe sanders tires and heartfelt work to serve congresswoman gabby giffords in southern arizona. we are all traveling on the path to healing. we are naming this room as a tribute, a gift to gabe and to those who were tragically
wounded, and those who lost their lives in the tucson shooting. but i think it's fitting we named this, in naming this place, gabe is giving us a gift, to come his name, his presence here would remind everyone walks these halls as a meeting of duty and of service. a passion to a cause that seems that we will all have more be grateful for, for gabe. two of my staff members worked previously, melissa martin and julie. they worked closely with good condition with a few other thoughts about him. i thought it would be appropriate to share them with you. melissa and julie told me quote we can't remember when we first heard the phrase what we did do? but it is a step that has endured as we work through casework at our local representation role. gabe was a staffer that we all strive to be. he genuinely cared for everyone that you wanted to save the world, one constituent at a time.
he was called a constituent whisper because of his uncanny ability to connect with our friends and neighbors in her home state of arizona. they went on, gabby is an arizona and through and through, the very same could be said of gabe. he was a to sewn in true and to come and take care deeply for our community. his work in our friendship transcended politics. my thoughts and prayers continue to be with gabe's family. but know that your son, your brother, your friend is leaving an enduring legacy that will inspire all who were care for generations to come. >> we are here today in the presence of days family -- gave his family, last night a few of
us got together like a high school reunion, and people from as far back as 2006 came together to remember this incredible young man. until his untimely death on january 11, -- january, 2011, he was and still is actually beloved by quite some you people. i guess it would be fair to say that none of us, all of us wish we were not here today. and wish gabe was still with us. but we are here to celebrate a great life, a life that was well led but ended way too soon. gabe led his life with joy and passion, curiosity, care deeply about his family, fiancé, kelly, his friends at our community in southern arizona. he was a man, believe me, i know
this more private conversations, a man of strongly held convictions and principles. and those convictions and principles were instilled in him by his family, mother emily, his father ross and his younger brother ben. and his aunt and uncles and grandparents, many of whom are here with us today. gabe was my right hand guy. he was the first person we hired him cabbies office when his district director. he and i worked side-by-side to set up the office, i called it a transition office. gabe rightly called it a transition closet. [laughter] it was a very tight space in there. we hired a staff soon after election of 2006. gabe build a constituent service team second-in-command the people of arizona have been so well served because gabe sought out staff who really knew how to do casework.
many of them with social background. we hired the best to do the best for the people of southern arizona. many of the same staff are with me now, and gabe's legacy of public service continues through them. just a comment about that staff, many of whom are in the room today. i think gabe, we no gabe hired well, but when you look at what that staff did in the aftermath of the shooting, he hired incredible well. they were back to work on monday after the shooting saturday. and they held up and maintain the services of the office throughout. and i'm so proud of all of them. so glad so many of them are working with me directly. you know, constituents came to the office sometimes a little bit upset, were often come down by gabe. at his office right by the front lobby.
he would sometimes use elevated -- he would hear elevated language in the lobby and he would come out and try to calm the situation down. on the day of the shooting, i'm told, he saw a heated conversation may be more than a conversation, occurring between people, polar opposite ends of the political spectrum. they were really getting into it. and gabe in his usual way went over, calm them down. he sat down and waited their turn to see the congresswoman. gabe's kind spirit and desire to help people inform every interaction with both constituents and staff. he was actually a favorite of seniors who live in green valley, a retirement community in our district. [laughter] i would show up there from time to time and they would always ask, looking behind, where his gabe? not only was he a gracious young man that the seniors loved, but he was very handsome as well. [laughter] he was a congressional staffer that all staff members wanted to
emulate. he loved and have enormous faith in this, the people's house, and that's why it is so fitting to have a room here named, the person ever as the speaker said, named after a staff person here at the capitol. i know that this room is not just to on the gabe. he would want it to be here to honor all of the public servants, all of the staff who serve as both here in congress, on the hill and back in the districts. and deserved the american people. it was my great pleasure to no gabe and to work alongside him or he was absolutely dedicated public servant determined to make his community better to he was also the guy called off when i couldn't figure out what to do on my computer. [laughter] which he practically every day. and he suddenly, gabe would appear the doorway in the computer would be fixed. he didn't have to do thing.
that was amazing. his dedication and his optimism, i can't think of a more fitting tribute than to name this room for him, a room where members and staff gather every week to discuss how we can better serve the people that we represent, and actually get things done. i want to thank you all for being here today. it's bittersweet as was said but i'm so glad so many of you came. to celebrate this incredible young man in this room we're dedicating today. and now it's my honor to invite to the podium my former boss, a woman who was a great inspiration to all of us across the country, and i had to say across the world, if you probably know if you knew gabe at all, he was fiercely loyal to congresswoman giffords, and i know she loved and appreciated him very much. congresswoman giffords is accompanied to the point by her husband, captain mark kelly. please welcome captain mark kelly and congresswoman
gabrielle giffords. [applause] >> mr. vice president, thank you for being here with us today. emily, ross, kelly, on behalf of gabby and i we are honored to be here with you on this very important day. thank you, speaker boehner, leader pelosi, leader cantor, senator flake, congresswoman wasserman schultz, ma congressman schweiker, and the many other members of the house and senate who helped make this dedication possible your butt to be true to history, it was your staffs who really made this happen. [laughter] in a world where staff are often admonished for attracting
credit, only on their bosses. let me formally and officially say on behalf of gabby and i, thank you. you soldier on and saw to it that against all odds they would be a real and permanent space dedicated to one of your own. the only staffer ever murdered in the line of duty, and now the only room in the capitol name for a staffer. as you know, gabby has trouble speaking, as well as she used to. some days are better than othe others. >> [inaudible] >> some occasions or harder than others. she asked me to speak on our behalf today, but as she could, she would keep you here all day. [laughter] >> all day long. [laughter] talking about her friend, gabe. gabe work on her first campaign for congress in 2006, and they
work in the tucson district office for four years. gabe and gabby had a lot of incredible experiences together that ranged from inspirational the hilarious, and also to horrific. gabriel zimmerman and gabrielle giffords also shared a name. gabriel is translated into strong man of god. and in the bible, gabriel is the angel assigned to the gods messenger. gabby's mom, gloria, always thought it was a fitting name for her daughter from a very young age. i only had the privilege of knowing gabe briefly in his life, but he, too, was certainly a message bear. as a young boy, gabe was asked to write a bit about himself for a school project. these words are now in grade any
memorial at the zimmerman trailhead in southern arizona, a place that he really, really loved deeply. and i quote, this is written from gabe when he was like 12 years old. gabe matthew zimmerman, happy, athletic, outgoing, original, who loves sports, family, and pizza. who needs sports, family and friends. who fears failure, weapons and war. who gives help, love, and ideas, who would like to see no longer, and nuclear bombs. as a grown man and colleague of gabby's, gabe's role was literally to bring the message of peace and calm to her constituents. he was called the constituent whisper, because if there was ever a grumpy or agitated constituent at the office or at an event, gabe was the only
person that could figure out how to control them. he had a gift with people, as does gabby. they saw that in each other, and truly inspired one another. gabe was trained in social work. >> social work. >> so his entire mission in life was to take care of other people. to enhance their well being, and as the social worker's code of ethics puts it, to elevate service to others above self-interest. gabby and i have obviously gotten very involved in the current discussion about whether everyone should have a background check before buying a firearm. or just some people. in the realm of the discussion some people say that a good guy with a gun can stop the bad guy with a gun. i always remind people that there was a good guy with a gun at the safeway that morning, but in the chaotic 15 seconds that
unfolded where 33 rounds were shot, he didn't have any time to react. anyway, i made an effort to understand the many details of the day as possible. it was no surprise for me to learn that immediately after the shooting started, gabe ran towards gabby, and towards the other victims, towards the shooter, and towards danger. putting himself in service to others was gabe's last act on this earth. but gabe's legacy will be bearing the message of public service for generations to come. gabe is an inspiration, a constant reminder that being of service is a gift, and that the work of representing citizens of this country is noble. gabe worked hard at that. he took great joy in it, too. this room will always remind us of his devotion. and i hope for many generations,
reminded members of congress and their staff that gabe's determination, as he hears the voices of his fellow citizens and to everything in his power to ensure that their government was responsive to them, and this will guide their leadership. gabriel, strong man of god, message bear, will continue his service. thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. as everyone was singing the praises of staff and justifiably so, i was thinking about talking about my staff and making you follow mark kelly and gabrielle giffords on this program. [laughter]
mr. speaker, thank you for making this day possible. debbie, and as senator, thank you for leading the way on the legislation that made this day possible. actually, i know that the staff will be moving forward in making this happen but i can just tell you, i'm surprised instead of 400 cosponsors we didn't have 500 cosponsors. she was relentless in making this happen for gabe, but also because she knew how much it meant to gabby and to mark, to all of us here. vice president biden, you honor us with your presence means so much to have you here. congresswoman giffords, mark kelly, we've already acknowledged leader cantor, kyrsten sinema, representative
from arizona here today, other members of congress, but especially the staff who have gathered here. as we join together today, as others have said and as all carry in our hearts, our thoughts and prayers rest with the people of boston, with the family of all the victims of this senseless tragedy. words are inadequate to console the loved ones of those who lost, who are lost at the boston marathon, and that can be said of every tragedy, including tucson. but we will do what we can to care for them. we will pray for the recovery of the injury. we are grateful to her first responders in the medical care that they receive. we'll offer our support as americans, and as members of congress. and we will ensure that justice is done. on january 8, 2011, another tragedy struck the hearts of our nation in tucson, arizona. for emily nottingham, for ross zimmerman, for gabe zimmerman's
family, loved ones, all of you, gender eight, 2011, will ever be a day defined by grief and loss, anguish and shock. the members of congress and our entire nation and our staff, that they will be seared into our memories as a moment of extraordinary sadness, and almost despair. yet, at the same time, january was also a reminder of the courage of our colleague, congresswoman gabby giffords. gabrielle giffords. of the dedication of gabe zimmerman, his fellow staffers and local residents and the beauty of the democratic engagement of public officials staying connected to people we are elected to represent. at that supermarket meeting. to those -- with the dedication of the gabe zimmerman meeting room, those memories will officially have a place of respect in admiration and united states capital.
there's a reason why this is the first room, right, mr. speaker? because it was ruled an unspoken rule that they would be no rooms named for an individual in the visitors center. that until the thought of naming one for gabe zimmerman. so separate was this an issue that 400 cosponsors. by dedicating this room we are of the highest ideals of service because that's what gabe zimmerman's life was about. is values and service, a real tribute to his family. as his mother, emily, has said, it's not his death but his work and his ideals that should be recognized here. gabe had gone to work that day for the same reason he went to work every day, to help the people of tucson, to reach out to congresswoman giffords constituents, to serve the public and strengthen the community. it was part of the ongoing daily
effort to make a difference, whether the veteran seeking the benefits they were on, the families facing foreclosure, or seniors who have lost their security checks. he was a welcomed sight. it's the same thing had done as a social worker assisting troubled youth and as a member of the boards of several community organizations in tucson. that was his work, those were his ideals. now as congress reduce the best way to prevent gun violence, vice president biden ours is with his presence today. we have a deep understanding of these issues are measures that will make america safer and families more secure. gabe zimmerman story reflects the spirit of service shared by thousands of individuals serving as congressional staff, hundreds of them present here today. indeed, in honoring gabe we
recognize all of them for their hard work, dedication, all of you for your hard work, passion and dedication. in years to come visitors will come to the capital and see the name on the store and they will say, tell me about gabe. and i think we should tell them that it isn't called the gabriel zimmerman meeting room, it's called for gabe zimmerman meeting room. a place where people come together to meet, in the spirit of gabe zimmerman we will have a meeting of the mind to make a difference for the american people. hopefully, in this meeting room we will be meeting the standard of gabe zimmerman. we will be meeting the ideals his mother talked about. people constantly being an inspiration to us. that's what we will tell people when they ask us, tell me about
gabe zimmerman. and though they may not know him, they may not know him now by name, they will know him by his service and his leadership. today, we continue to pray for emily and ross an entire zimmerman family. we hope it is covered to you that so many people appreciate gabe has been desperation, he continues to be, and that he will be forever remembered in the capital of the united states. [applause] >> mr. speaker, madam leader, members of the congress, staff, mom, dad, losing a brother is a very difficult thing. becky, our heart goes out to y
you. you probably more than any other people in this room today can understand how the people in boston feel today. you know, lots of time we are united in our victories, but more often we are united in our tragedies. take you to a window into a difficult things are for the people. and no parent should have their child predeceased them. and no parent should be in a position where their child is taken by a violent act. and i say child knowing he was a fully grown man. doesn't matter. it does not matter. my case as a baby, in your case it was a grown man. it doesn't matter but as a
matter fact it may even be harder. it may even be harder. and you know, all those folks up in boston, who were witnesses of, as many were with you, gabby, a horrific event that did such damage to you and the people you love, your staff, we don't know all the details yet. i started an early morning meeting late last night at the time of the event. the only thing i can say for certain at the meeting, we all, all our domestic as well as foreign intelligence folks, we will find out what happened. we will find out who did this, and we will bring them to
justice. we also know something about us as americans. we know something about bostonians, that in the most difficult times, it's when we stand closest together. and it's out of tragedy that we grow stronger. i know that sounds so hollow to say to you now. i remember my mother saying after i lost my wife and daughter, my mother is a gentle, sweet old irish -- not all the time -- an irish lady who is compassionate and she said, joey, if you look hard enough, something good will come out of everything bad. we will, we will come out of what happened at boston stronger. and believe it or not you will be stronger.
he is in your bloodstream. he is part of you. there's no way, there's no way that it ever goes away. you know, i got elected to the senate when i was 29, and i was often mistaken for a senate staffer. [laughter] literally. i was told numerous times, this elevator is reserved for senators. [laughter] oh, for those days. [laughter] oh, for those days. but they immediately knew i was a singer when it opened my mouth. [laughter] and nothing really sensible came out. [laughter] they knew i couldn't be a staffer. they knew i had to be a senator. [laughter] and that goes for congressmen, too. staffers, staffers. guess what? as john says, senator is a different category. i don't know.
[laughter] all i know is that old joke, if you walk over here -- the walkover is twice as long as it is the way back. look, folks, all of us who serve here have been elected here. it's so trite to say it, but, you know, there's no possibility that we do our job without a gabe zimmerman's. not the remotest possibility. i also know, i know my fellow congressman, members of congress would say, i always used to find that one is chairman of the foreign relations committee, foreign relations staff, what they did was very important. they were very special. and i used to make my staff literally, my d.c. staff have to come and speak week in delaware doing case work. to understand why i get elected, to understand who pays their salary, why it matters, why it
matters. and you know, as pointed out many times, this is the first time in history any room in the capitol has been named after, after a staff person. but it's appropriate, because all of us know that there's no way this place could function without you. you know, i always would say and i'm sure my colleagues agree with me, the single best buy, the single best tax dollar spent by american tax dollar is the brainpower, the patriotism, the dedication, the service, and results that come through people whose names they never know. staffers. almost every one of you in this room could be doing something else making a whole lot of money. so many of you graduate at the
top of your class, so many of you. i remember feeling so conscious. i stopped hiring rhodes scholars after chitosan and i realize how inadequate i was. [laughter] but all kidding aside think of the application we did. people who work for us and with us. so it's appropriate, it's appropriate, because there's no way this place could function without incredible staff. and you know, nancy is right, people are going to come in the room and five years from now they will say than five, who was he? and it will be a staffer who will tell them who he was. no, it will. will tell them who he was. and why this room is named after him. because what is this democracy
except one big conversation, constantly rubbing up against one conversation against another. to generate some kind of consensus. we are so diverse we are so heterogeneous about the system, we would be like a gyroscope out of killed. there's no way to hold this country together, and it is led by staff. but, you know, as i was instructed by the congressmen, this is about celebrating 10 one's life. this is what his mom and dad wanted. a life that sounds almost hollow when we say devoted to service. it's simple. worrying about the guy next-door, worrying about the
guy down the street, worrying about when you walk into the drugstore to pick up her prescription and you find some guy tried to fumble through deceit get enough money to pay for his prescription. in the, going to the gas station and hearing a guy said, you know, i can only put come instead of filling up, it's on empty but i put five gallons in because i can't fill all think. somebody who gets a call and said, mom, mom died and john is in afghanistan. how in god's name am i going to get them home? how can i do that? is it possible? you know, i notice most of you, you don't do because you're paid to do it. you do it because you really want to do it. you really want to do it. and gabe, like my daughter, first and foremost is a social worker, going to save the world. i don't know how many times i get a phone call from my daughter saying, dad, my people. like who the hell are my people? [laughter]
that, you've got to do something. bad, this is not about politics. what the devil do you think you are doing? its politics. about people's lives. he was a social worker and he was devoted to gabby personally, and her staff. he was gabby's voice, like most of our people back on. they are our voice. that's how we get judged. they don't get to see us all the time, but they see our staffers in the reflection of who we are. these two are cut from the same cloth. people understood, gabby, she was all over the district. they understood her because they understood gabe. he spoke for her because he could speak for her. he knew her heart. he was her voice and hope. he was driven by social colleges, and i didn't know gabe. i just know gabe's up here. and i know gabby well.
i'm told he was driven by a social colleges to do a thing he ever wanted to do was somehow make people better. the trailhead, what he wrote, my god, 12 year old kid or 10 or 14 or 25 for that matter year old kid writing that. it's obviously what he wanted to do, and he obviously did it. you know, even the day he was killed, as congressman barber pointed out to me, and i hope you don't mind if i repeat our conversation, i called and asked ron about it. he said all i can become a said gabby went down and as i was going down, i saw this figure between us. the last thing i remember, he was way back. he said the way we set up, i would be by gabby and gabe would be out there making sure that
everything was in order. so it's not hyperbole, i guess, that he didn't run away from the fire. he ran into the fire. 30 remarkable kid. 30 remarkable kid. trendlines selflessness and mighty was manifested by his courage. that's the element -- the ultimate act of selflessness. your personal courage you're my mom used to say, chile, the greatest of all is courage because all others are built upon it. by all accounts, and i say that because i don't want to pretend i knew gabe, by all accounts this was an incredibly remarkable kid and he wasn't a kid. he was a grown man. now every time as i say someone walks into this room, somebody
is going to say, when they say who is gabe? we will tell them about you. they will describe many of you. they're going to describe how this place works, and why there's so many the and good people in this country who want to serve. you know, they will remind you that when we walk in this room, i served in the senate for 36 years. when we walk in this room, we are reminded by why we ran in the first place. sometimes yo you forget when yoe here too long, or even you are here a short time. we ran because we said we wanted to serve. we ran because we said we would listen. we promised to listen. we ran because we told our folks back home that we would tell them the truth about what we believed, and we would stand by
what we ran on. there's no secret that sometimes all of us lose sight, hopefully only temporarily, of why we ran. gabe obviously didn't forget why he wanted daddy to run, and why he stayed while she ran. and i don't know if you staffers know this, and there's no difference at the white house, going on five years now, it almost always is the new kid on the block for this to happen. it asks the question that goes, but i thought you said -- i'm serious. i thought you said. i thought we were going. isn't that why you did. the more honorable and decent
and noble you are, the more impact you have on your member, no matter whether they are left, right, center, conservative, everyone who ran here, every congressman, every senator, they ran because they actually believed in something. they believed they wanted to change something. they wanted to make something better. we disagree on what constitutes better, but that's why they ran. and so emily and ross, gabe was stolen from you much too young. but he has been stolen from you doing, as trite as this sounds, doing the work of democracy. a beautiful, bright congresswoman with a talented, well-educated staff outside a grocery store, standing there,
ready to have people tell them how good they were and how stupid they were. how positive they felt about them, how negatively they thought about them. ready to listen. andy kay that constituent their best judgment of what they thought should and shouldn't be done. because not all of the case workers show up meetings. a lot of us -- but also every once in a while it's someone making you realize why you did what you did. so folks, thank god there's so many of you, so many. maybe not as courageous, county myself, and others, as gabe. but there's so many of you. you are so talented, so good, so decent, so committed. that's the only way this place functions. and nancy always tells me, and john always tells me, this is
the people's house. this really is the people's house. i was proud to be a senator but this is the people's house. and every two years, you go out for your bosses, make the case why they should come back for another two. that's how the system works. but it only works with young, smart, talented people. ..
[laughter] it's very nice to see all the people who gab was so fond of here. and other people who are involved in affair of our nation. i was not going to tell any stories. but you triggered a couple. i will say there's a strange and surreal exoapt to this because of the event if boston. i ran countless marathons, gabe and i ran across the grand canyon a couple of times. the complete incongruity, the
horror of the situation is something that caught our attention yesterday. i certainly want our leaders and our law enforcement to do everything necessary. but i must tell you a couple of gabe stories before i go there -- through my remarks. the first being triggered byron's comment about -- ron's comment about computer support. i when i first told ben, his brother, that gabe was in computer support for the office the reaction was dad, you've got to be kidding. [laughter] gabe was not computer tech especially. somebody needed out how to figure out how to do it so he did it. the other thing i want to mention was a tail of courage -- talent of courage. not exactly gabe's courage.
there was a shooting in southeast arizona, a rancher was shot. there was great fury over it. and gabey decided she needed to meet with the ranchers directly and understand their concerns. gabe was talking about the preparation for for this and i listened awhile and said son, these people are very upset. it's awfully brave of you and your boss to talk to these people. he said, actually, i recommended against it. it's her idea. and it went very well. they appreciate it. and this is the kind of person gabriel is. [applause] on january 8, 2011, my son gabe directed congress. on your corner. when chaos broke out, he rushed
to help. we know the outcome that's why we are here today. that the capital building, flags were flown at half mass in honor of the first congressional staff member killed in service of our nation's history. several memorials were composed. the idea that carried the day was the naming of this room in his honor. many people here today help carry the idea forward. we thank you. and we thank the house of representatives for the anonymous vote and support gabe's legacy. some of us frelt strongly at one of the best possible image of gab on tbsh gabe on the plaque you see the architect of the capital office were patiently supportive when we took the prospect back to gabe's home in
tucson where family and friends could help. after months of collaboration with the sculpture, we arrived at the representation that resignationed with us. two years ago, i sat look at the gabe's fiancè, kelly oh bryan who dragged him through the first marathon when he was not well trained. kelly had never been here before. she was enchanted with this place. i realized if gabe had survived, and kelly likely would have lived her for -- here for a time serving the people and the nation he loved. this will not come to pass. rather, an echo of gabe will persist, perhaps for century. that isn't worth the loss, but the echo is good and true.
i ask that you and our descendent take inspiration from my -- son's echo. thank you. [applause] >> hello. i want to particularly acknowledge these staffers in direct 8, especially who were also there at the safeway that day. i learned this about death. that after it love survives. i really hope that the love that gabe had for people and for justice lingers in this room for many, many years. this is my vision for this room. it's about fifty years from now
and there are two members in congress rushing down the hallway together trying to come to a meeting that is going to be a difficult meeting in this room. and the man turns to the woman and he says, who was gabe zimmerman anyway? and the woman, a member of congress, who has done her homework. -- [laughter] says. tells the story the young staffer who was murdered trying to make democracy work in tucson, arizona. and there's a pause, and both of them commit to themselves that for this next meeting held in this room that they would stand up for what they believed in. i want to thank those of you who made it possible that may be that vision or something like it
can come true. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] let us pray. loving god as a we leave this place, we ask again that you reward gabe zimmerman for his love and service. give to him the joys and blessings of eternal life as you console all who are bound to him still. may we all be inspired by gabe's example. he loved listen together concerns of constituents and solving their problems when he could. grant, oh lord, that his love of the world and automatic of your children be an inspiration to us
all in our work and in our encounter with others. may god's great name be blessed other -- forever and forever amen. may there be peace and life for us all amen. let he who he makes peace in the heaven grant peace to us all. amen. >> i want to thank you for coming today. i invite the family to the stage, guests to join us in front of the plaque for a photograph. >> down here? sure. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] after a session that wrapped up just after 2:00 this morning. the u.s. senate continues in about an hour to work on gun legislation. they game to agreement on an amendment taking place. votes on the machin toomey amendment dealing with handgun purchasers and eight other amendments expected at 4:00 p.m. eastern. no agreement has been reached yet on final passage. senators will be gaveling in at 9:30 eastern this morning.
you can see live senate coverage here on c-span2. also today janet napolitano will testify on capitol hill on the president's tbowrt homeland security budget request including $39 million of discretionary spending which is a decrease from 2012. she's expected to talk about the boston marathon bombings, disaster relief, and boarder security. you can see it on c-span three. coming up next remarking in iceland's president olafur grimsson. he spoke earlier this beak at the national press club in washington, d.c. the remarks about an hour. >> our guest today, icelandic president olafur grimsson said we live in an ice dependent world. perhaps it comes as no surprise, the that president the leader of a country with ice in the name would like the world to take
notice of the glacier and sea ice that dominate the arctic neighborhood. but the british educate political scientist elected july 30th to a record fifth term as ice lands' president as a global worry. the north pole's shrinking icecap is breaking havoc on the weather system, and ecology. the -- disappearance of arctic is diminishing sea life as we know it. iceland is a member of arctic counsel which is eight counsels. the council has reached environmental treaties but deep concerns remain about sovereignties, resources such as oil, gas and fishery, shipping
route and now climate change. as interest in the polar reaches resources have grown, other nations have asked for a stake in the arctic. including france, singapore, and china. last summer chinese scientists travel to the north foal research when polar melting caused extreme weather in china. today iceland became the first european agreement to sign a free at the same trade agreement with china. he said the time has come to settle the resource claim in the arctic and take steps to address the environment degradation. the issues are polarizing. [laughter] but president grimson
serve as iceland's finance minister. in 2008 he presided over iceland's near economic collapse. the country's unique response which included social and political reform and allowing the banks to pull pulled iceland back from the brink without the austerity measures. perhaps most challenging of all he raised twin girls. please hiv me give a warm national press club welcome back to president grimsson. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. for these words of welcome and thank you for hosting us at the
national press club here today for a special occasion where i have privilege to announce the establishment of a new venue aimed at enhangs the dialogue on corporate issues. i know, sometimes here in washington, the arctic looks as if it is far away. perhapses in the minds of many, still the hidden part of the world as it was. in the beginning of the 20th century. where the knowledge of that the neighbor to our countries was still very limited. and in fact remains so until the first decades of the 21st century. the cold war brought away the territory in to the concerns of
not only -- [inaudible] but also every country in the arctic for a military buildup in our part of the world. by the end of the cold war, we saw an enormous transformation in the arctic. it suddenly turned from being a highly militarized confrontation of part of the globe to a very successful demonstration of positive and constructive corpg. during the clinton administration, the eight arctic countries decided to make it our arctic, so to speak. global territory where the eight countries with agree owe graphical came together in the arctic counsel which is the beginning -- started to agree on treaty and further steps incorporation.
but now in the second decade of the 21st century, we have suddenly seen that what we thought was our arctic becoming a global arctic. with countries in far away places wanting to have a seat at the arctic table. last year, for example, to indicate this interest, in every meeting i had with leaders of asia whether it was the prime minister of china, the prime minister of korea, singapore, and now last week also with prime minister of the foreign minister of india. in every one of the meetings, they wanted to discuss was not it but when they will acquire a seat on the arctic council. if that should -- [inaudible] for us the eight countries i
don't know what can serve that purpose. but you might ask yourselves why is it that countries in asia, global players in the 21st century economy have suddenly acquired this enormous interest in what we thought fifty years ago was -- [inaudible] there are many reasons. one is the arctic sea ice. we will see in the near future, i emphasize the near future, opening up both new shipping routes. linking asia to america and europe in the same way as the suez canal did in its time. one of the reasons why the leadership of china has shown interest in the arctic, they are already planning for a world where china will be the
preimminent trading country in the world. and if they send their ships through the northern routes to europe and asia, the distance will be short end by more than 40%. china is already building ships for this purpose. they are already formulating plans indicating the number of vessels that will, in this decade, sail through this route. singapore has already gotten -- [inaudible] with the primary mission of finding a location for a big singapore hopper somewhere until the arctic region. so like the suez canal, indicated are trading transformation of the 20th century. the opening of the northern sea route will indicate a fundamental transformation of the global trading system in the
21st century. the second reason, of course, is the melting of the arctic sea ice through the impact on the global weather system. one of the reason why the chinese sent the ice breaker -- from shanghai to iceland last summer, the first time in history, a china vessel goes from shanghai to an arctic country through the northern route was that they discovered in the summer of 2007 and the following winter that the melting of the arctic sea ice had tremendous implications for the extreme weather events that occur in china in the following winter. as a result of the expee desks last summer the chinese authorities could prepare for what happened in february of this year. where china experienced in many of the regions destruction of
the infrastructure of the towns and communities and of the economic operations perhaps great. the storm sandy caused here in the united states a few months before. storm sandy, by the way, also being blamed by the melting of the arctic. if you remember, this rather symbolic picture of governor kristy of new jersey and president obama embracing a few days before the election. [inaudible] it was the melting of the arctic sea ice that actually brought them together. [laughter] [applause] indicating the implication for the american political system. but the third reason, of course, the enormous resources in the arctic. it has been estimated that about a quarter of the -- [inaudible]
energy resources can be found within the arctic. in addition to various min lal -- mineral and other important item for a professional 21st century economy. it's one of the reasons why the prime minister of south korea visited grown land last -- greenland last year with a long list of global corporation wanting to engage in formal agreement with the new government in greenland. so for all of these reasons, that and many others, the arctic has become the political strategic with economic feel good of the 21st century. but we should know something and remember that within the arctic, there are people who have lived there for thousands of years. people who have made the arctic
the neighborhood of the ice their homes and livelihood. and our states, whether it is the republican of iceland or the united states of america, or the federation of russia of relatively recent arrivals in their arctic -- so the interrelationship between what happens to the people and the disappearance of the ice on the development of the arctic will also be a fundamentally political and even judicial concerns. what are the rights of the people who have live there had for thousand of years appeared to the claims meat by states and corporations? but there are also similarities between with a is happening in the arctic regions and what is taking place in the -- where you also have two big countries like china and india. like russia in the united states
in and a number of smaller countries as well. reincreasingly seeing the development of the arctic corporation being seen as a model for the countries in the himalayas. the message being that what happens in our arctic neighborhood is not just of consequence for us in the arctic or the countries that want to be with us and the organization of the arctic, but can also serve as a model for the part of the world where almost 2 billion people depend on the water systems of the impact of the melting of the glacier of their economy and their livelihood. in that respect, what happens until the are -- in the arctic has global consequences beyond our own corporation. why first started speaking about this in the first years of my presidency, arctic issues were still very, very prefer really a
in the interlog for international conferences. i was waste -- somehow i realized that within the near future, my country and others dealing with this in a significant way. we have seen a number of countries coming together on arctic issues. various organizes and other. this will is a need especially in the light of the importance of the issues i have outlined today to enhance the dialogue. and to bring more people more effectively and productively together to discuss and deliberate and decide what the future of the arctic. a kind of open invitation where everybody not just within the arctic countries but other parts of the world can come together. and that's why we started
thinking about it last year how we could do this and in corporation with a number of arctic leaders and other countries, we have decided to announce here today at the national press club in washington that we are forming what we have decided to call the arctic circle. it's a venue somewhat a play word. it indicates geographic call location as well as the democratic position of everybody coming together around the table in the same way. there's no distinction of property -- protocol of who is important or not important. everybody who wants to come is welcome. the essence of this initiative is not to create yet another organization in order to replace others. on the contrary, the essence of the arctic circle, it will be an
open tent where different organizations institute government, public associations, nongovernment organizations, can come together in their own name with their own agenda and through their own decision making. but making use of the great number of people who come there in order to deliberate, it will be hopefully, the preimminent event every year where all of those major players that have an interest in involvement in the arctic can come together for the dialogue and discussion and where also the countries in farway place like china, india, south korea, singapore can present their case. why are they so interested in the arctic? what is the chinese agenda in the arctic? why does india want to have a seat at the arctic council?
and also, the big corporations in the world. whether they are company or mining companies and others come to present their case. but also a place where the president indigenous -- also live in the village of the small town in the arctic can also be a part of the dialogue. the arctic council will, therefore, hope to facility at a time a new type of dialogue within the arctic. and why are we announcing this in washington? not only due to a great tradition of the national press club, but because within a few weeks, the presidency of the arctic council will move to north america. where canada will take over from russia and those of us in the nordic countries that have in the previous ten years have been
responsible for the arctic council. it will be the first time since this core organization came age. the two north american countries, canada and the united states, will become responsible for its leadership. and after two years of the canadian presidency, the united states, the obama administration will take over the arctic council. that will be, my dear friends, some testing time for the united states in term of the community, the political community, the engagement of the business corporation, the think tank and the others. it will be a testing time indicating how does the united states see the future of the arctic? what is the direction it wants to give? not only to the other arctic countries but also to india, china, many of the european
countries and others that also want to be a part of the arctic future. that is why in addition to the great tradition of this institution, we were honored and pleased to use this venue, the national press club in washington to announce establishment of the arctic circle. we all live, as was mentioned, in the introduction in a dependent world. we perhapses don't realize every day how dependent we are on the ice. but in -- but it is melting and meltings fast. that is why the chinese are already repairing. that's why singapore got a special division in the foreign ministry look for a hopper. i come from a country where we continue have to go to
international conferences to realize that the ice is melting and melting fast. and our neighbors in greenland see how every year the big lakes and river that are created on the green land and ability in the northern part of russia and alaska as well as greenland. that now face -- test because was rising sea level and the melting of the ice. -- half the size of europe, mostly covered with ice. about half of it melts in the coming decades, together with a small part of antarctica, we could see a sea level rise of two or three meters. soily indicated in this country what could be the consequence of
combination of extreme weather pattern as well as a rising sea level. so if it was only for the security of our cities, whether there are florida or the west coast, or even if they are in china or bangladesh or india, it's absolutely clear that no threat apart from a major military nuclear kind will be as disasterrous for the future of our cities for all for all over the world as the melting of the ice. the arctic is the primary area where this is taking place. so with that message, as well as the need to enhance our dialogue and corporation of this new arctic future, be ready to enter the dialogue which nation in the farway places in the world already engaged in the future of
our own and our own territory. it is necessary to try to find new ways to enhance the dialogue on the arctic. those of us together with distinguished political leaders from other part of the world to come together to announce the arctic circle hope that through this effort can bring many more people to this table in a constructive and cooperative way. it's not just our arctic, it is the global arctic. and what happens there will have fundamental consequences for every nation in the world. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you.
can you clarify please how exact lit arctic circle will differ from the arctic council? what will the role of the two groups membership comparison? >> the arctics council is a former governmental organization of the eight arctic countries united states, russia, canada, and five nordic countries. it is a governmental organization where you have to be -- [inaudible] to be able to speak. it has a few -- [inaudible] including france. as my good friend, former prime minister of france said refer to introduction because he hasn't been in the seat of the permanent of france to the arctic council meeting. he hasn't been allowed to yet say anything in that -- meeting. and paris a few weeks ago we said in a public forum, france
is not accustomed to be allowed to speak. [laughter] the international meeting. [laughter] at the arctic circle, everybody will be allowed to speak. everybody will be able to come there whether they are concerned citizens, whether they are nongovernmental organizations, whether they are scientists or researchers, representing universities or think tanks. to together with governmental leaders and corporations and others, either simply want to be there to be a part of the dialogue or to hear what people are saying, or because they have a special message and a special agenda. while it might take awhile for the arctic council to decide which country will be give the permanent of service and what is the role of permanent service within the arctic council, these
cunls can already -- countries already -- [inaudible] spokes person or scientist and others to a meeting of the arctic circle to demonstrate the case and be a part of the dialogue. in that sense, it's an open democratic place. everybody wants to participate will actually be welcomed. >> from where will the group's funding come? >> well, first of all, many of those who will come to the arctic circle will come through their own funding. they will host their own meetings and sessions be responsible for the agenda of those sessions and for those meetings. but we will seek a collection of support from nations and others who have an interest in the arctic. will not be a particularly big budget compared to many others because it's hope to be a facilitator. it hopes not to be a part of a
big organized. that acquires a great need. for example, we know from a meeting this morning that google is interested in being present. there are those responsible for discussion that canned to be there. [inaudible] already agreed to organized meetings within the circle. we help to collect that will provide the necessary money. we have a positive response from those supporters and that will be annoyed -- announced in due course. those will be smaller scale than you are used to here in the imriets as far as funding requirements. [laughter] you address the relationship between iceland and other arctic countries in china. how old you in your own words describe iceland's relationship with china? you also talk about what china
might want from you. what do you want in return from china? >> the relationship between china and iceland is in many ways an interesting example of how china is gradually playing, in my opinion, constructive role in the world. i have often said as i indicated to you my speech that dpiew to the relationship between the arctic sea ice and the melting of ice in my neighborhood as well. and the extreme weather events in china, china has legitimate reason to study and do research on the arctic sea ice. so of the meeting that was took place earlier today in china where the first country to sign a free trade agreement with china. the first european down sign a
free trade agreement with china. it was announced in our meeting that we will continue or dialogue on the arctic. the other major reason why china is interested in corporation with iceland is our transformation. especially our transformation. iceland, as some of you know, was in the early decades of my life, dependent on oil and coal like most countries. now for a number of decades had to present the production of space heating has been forseen. -- [inaudible] and the geothermal resources are increasingly taking bigger part of our institution. now we are engaged in one of those agreements was also signed this morning in china between icelandiced a adventure in this corporation and -- in building such geothermal heating sys